Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers. Hope you all take care of yourselves over the holidays. Remember it is okay to be active throughout the next several weeks. If you are generally active now you will feel better as you go into January.
Thinking of you all.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Choosing a Personal Trainer

Choosing a good Personal Trainer can be a bit like choosing a husband.
It’s important that you click with them, enjoy spending
lots of time with them and share the same goal – ie,
your fitness. If you’re going to be investing your time
and money into this long-term commitment, it’s important that
you shop around thoroughly before settling for the right one.
Here are some very important factors to take into consideration:
If you click with someone initially this is a fairly good indicator
that you will work well together. If, after a few meetings, you feel
as though there is something not right, this isn’t the person for
you. You will be spending a good amount of time with your PT so
having a good working relationship will be important for you to
want to attend your sessions.
your personal programme
A “client-centred” programme is one of the most important
features you can look for when shopping around. This means
that the PT will do their utmost to assess your current fitness
condition, and formulate a programme exclusively for your
needs. A good PT with a client-centred programme will:
• offer a lifestyle assessment all about you
• have you fill out a PAR-Q form (Pre-participation questionnaire)
• ask you about specific goals and discuss how best to attain them
• do fitness and lifestyle tests with you, eg, blood pressure
reading, strength and/or cardiovascular testing,
measurements (All of these monitor your progress and can
help motivate you to see results and reach your goals)
• ask you what activities you like or dislike. Are they then
making you do activities you dislike? This will not help you to
adhere to a programme
• offer to set up programmes for you when you are away from
the gym or on holiday/business trips
• look at you as a whole person; eg, lifestyle, foods and
• offer to speak with other practitioners in your life, such as
your physiotherapist, GP, osteopath, massage therapist, etc
• communicate well with you and show up on time
If you already belong to a gym, look at the PT board and read about
each professional. The ones who have experience in the areas
you need help with will be a good start. If you don’t have gym
membership you may want a trainer who visits your home. A
good place to start is on the Register of Exercise Professionals
website in the UK or in your country a fitness association or register. You can also look on the net generally or find
advertisements in health and fitness magazines, but keep in mind
all of the above qualifications mentioned when shopping around.
Tertiary education is probably the most important box to tick. A
PT with a sports science or physical education degree means you
have someone with advanced training in anatomy, physiology and
other human studies essential for creating a safe and effective
programme. Having said this, there are many great trainers who
have taken other forms of professional qualifications.
Professional qualifications are shorter-term courses than tertiary
education degrees. If you choose a trainer with this type of
background, ensure the qualifications are the equivalent to an
NVQ Level 2 or above. Professional qualifications can come
from around the world. Some of the best are from America. The
NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) offers a
certified strength and conditioning specialist diploma as well as
other levels of certification. To take this course a trainer must
already have a degree. The ACSM (American College of Sports
Medicine) is another highly recommended certification.
Ask about prices before you start, and make sure you’re
comfortable with what’s on offer. If you can only buy 30
sessions up front and there are no other choices, you may want
to look elsewhere. If they offer you different packages to suit
your needs then they are offering a good service.
Overall, you want someone with strong qualifications, a
personality that works well with yours, a convenient location
and an affordable cost scheme. If you choose carefully and
know exactly what to look for, you and your PT can achieve
excellent results, together.

Good luck with it and have fun on your new adventure.


Monday, 14 September 2009

Nutrition: Blood Sugar Balance

Charlotte Watts shows you the nutritional fundamentals behind weight loss, health and freedom from cravings with practical, easy and realistic food choices.
Check our Positively Slim Nutrition: Blood Sugar Balance Video and ebook by clicking on the title above.

To Weigh or not to Weigh?

Look girls, I have had enough! Enough of seeing women standing on a scale and torturing themselves because of what they read. How many of you have your routine of getting on the scale and saying things like, “Well…another 2kg, I should not have had that cake.” Or, “Guess all my working out hasn’t paid off, I am hopeless.” Do any of you ever get on the scale and feel satisfied? Wouldn’t if be wonderful if women could stop torturing themselves with the scale?
I have worked in gyms for fifteen years and have seen so many examples of this self torture. The worst example was of a woman at home in Canada who brought her gorgeous little girl into the change room and literally placed her on the scales. The mother looked at the number and then turned to the girl who was about 5 years old and said, “Well darling we need to get 2kilos off of you.” I was gob-smacked, why should weight matter, ever. This child looked healthy, had radiant skin and a smile to die for, but apparently she needed to lose 2kilos!!!
Life without weighing yourself…could you do it? This act of hopping onto a little white slab started long before we can remember, so for many it will be difficult to break the habit. What if there were no scales? Could you gain your self worth from within? Even as an innocent babe we are measured and weighed. This continues year after year as we attend annual physicals. For myself, every year as a child I would go for my check up and the verdict would be the same. The doctor would say, “Well dear you are 10kg overweight for your height.” And after every visit I would feel horrendous. How many of you have had the same experience? All of this is drummed into our heads at very impressionable ages. We are given a number which does not recognize a spectrum of unique bodies. “You are overweight for your height.” Leaving the Doctor’s office you feel terrible and go on a spree of weighing yourself everyday for months in an attempt to see some changes. Despite your best efforts things don’t change and you feel miserable about yourself.
What does weight really take into account? Our bodies are made up of so many different items. Organs such as the heart, eyes, brain, internal organs keep us alive. Our skin is the largest organ in the body with a surface area of about 25 square feet and weighing 13.2kg. There are 206 bones in the body, weighing in total about 13kg for an average person weighing 72kg. There are 600 muscles that make up 40% of the body’s weight. If the human body were freeze dried like coffee, 90% would be the real you and 10% would be the “little critters” that live on and in us. Water makes up 60% of the adult male body and 55% of adult female. Females have less because on average we have 5% more body fat for child bearing purposes. (Lean tissue has more water than fat cells.) Are you starting to see the picture I am painting?
There are many important areas and portions of the body. All of these components weigh something. Your weight can fluctuate throughout a day and for females over the course of your monthly cycle. Some women have been known to gain 5kg the week before their period and then lose it all over the time of their period. This is build up of blood in the uterus and water as well. This is a natural occurrence for women and needs to happen. But, I would bet money that women who gain quite a bit of weight during their cycle still stress over this and are very hard on themselves. Girls…your body is doing the job it is meant to do! For those of you who feel bloated in the abdominal area you may want to take a serious look at what you are eating and if you are intolerant or allergic to some foods. I advocate abdominal strengthening but that will not make your tummy flat and take the bloated feeling away. If you are taking in foods that are irritating your intestines they will fill up and cause bloating internally. This is why you feel huge and experience “wind”. If you can find foods that your body utilises better you will feel flatter. This does not necessarily mean you will lose or gain weight, you will feel better. Are you still with me? I am trying to show you that a healthier focus in the mind will make you feel better not by what the scales say.
I tell my clients to go by girth measurements and how their clothes are fitting. You can be healthier and feel more toned but weigh more than you think you should. If you didn’t get on the scales would you be happy? To use this method you can have a personal trainer take your measurements and then re-do them in about 6-8 weeks of following a program towards better health. What should the program include?
A program towards better health, which does not include getting on the scales, should include the following aspects: exercise, good nutrition (not a diet, but a healthy plan forever) and lifestyle planning or management. The last item is very important, it will help you to understand your habits and restructure your life to fit a healthier approach. It can also include work on your emotional issues. Sorting out your “Stuff” can work wonders on the health of the body. For this work seek out a life coach or psychologist. You may only need one session to give yourself a kick start and know yourself better. Basically figure out what makes you tick and get out of the fog of daily life. Be a conscious thinker and be in the moment Now all of this may seem overwhelming but what is your priority? Do you want to continue to get on the scales which show you nothing, and continue to torture yourself everyday? Or, do you want to make positive changes and feel great about yourself, finally…To make changes you must take action.

Click on the title of this article and it will take you through to the Positively Slim Nutrition: Blood Sugar Balance Video. Enjoy.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Depression & Exercise

Depression can show itself in many different varieties. There is clinical depression, post-natal, stress induced, depression secondary to PMS, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Whatever type you feel you are suffering from there is usually an underlying unconscious reason. This you can address with either a qualified psychologist, life coach or Mind-Body Expert. Along your road to realising these causes you can soften the feelings of depression by exercising. Many studies show that participating in activities can elevate mood and anxiety states in any of the above mentioned groups.
It is shown through recent studies that exercise can elevate mood, increase levels of vigour, and reduce levels of confusion and fatigue in those with depression. Continued regular activity can have a preventative effect in the future, therefore this should not be thought of as a short term quick fix. Human beings are designed to move on a regular basis throughout their life span in order to feel an overall health benefit. Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, cycling or swimming seem to have received most of the research focus, although, individuals should also include activities such as weight training, group classes, or any other activity which keeps them interested. Group settings seem to have a beneficial effect because of the socialisation aspect. Other groups such as pregnant women can also benefit from a well rounded program.
So what activities does one choose if they are wanting these wonderful benefits? The first guideline is to choose something you like. If you love to swim, go down to your local pool and get started. A group class such as aerobics or yoga may be more your style, or you may prefer an individual based activity such as golf or weight training. If you choose something you like,you are more likely to adhere to continued activity. General recommendations suggest thirty minutes of moderate physical exercise daily in order to experience positive fitness and health benefits. These thirty minutes can be spread over 3 ten minute bouts through the day or can be done all at once. The benefits will be the same whether the time is blocked out to the three sessions or kept as one. The main thing is that you find some activities you enjoy and participate in them on a regular basis. Sometimes the first step is the most difficult. Start out by setting a goal of participating in an activity three times per week for 15 to 20 minutes, and work your way up to more days per week when you can. The object is to find a balance and remember that exercising everyday is only a guideline, you will still see benefits if you move three days a week. Finding a friend or colleague to join you can be a great motivating strategy. If not, make an appointment with a personal trainer, yoga or pilates instructor, this way you will feel obligated to meet someone. Be sure to tell this person your background and issues surrounding depression. It will be important for them to fully understand your goals and reasons for working with them. So, get out there and discover your body and the wonderful connection it has to your mind.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Top 100 Recipes for Happy Kids

Available now! Charlotte has teamed up with Gemini Adams, a talented chef and natural food advocate and created this beautifully presented book “Top 100 Recipes for Happy Kids”.
Their aim is to take the hassle out of healthy living and to help parents to encourage their children to develop healthy eating patterns to combat the challenges presented by the modern convenience lifestyle and abundance of junk food products and promotion.

They show how to prepare quick, tasty and nutritious meals for your children, but in recipes that have the added benefit of improving their mood and behaviour. Learn how it’s easy to change your child’s diet and, in doing so, balance moods and enhance brain function, concentration, behaviour, and ultimately happiness.

The recipes can of course be eaten by discerning adults too – there has been lots of good feedback, especially for breakfast ideas and quick and easy lunches to take to work!

Friday, 24 July 2009

How to do a squat

How to do a squat:

· Start at a standing position

· Move hips down into a “squat” position, or sit down into an imaginary chair

· Chest and torso lean forward at a 45 degree angle to floor

· Arms are beside body

· Feet are flat on the floor, running parallel to one another with body weight through the heels

· Head/eyes looking forward

· Standing back up from bottom of squat to “tall” position

· Breath in on way down, Breath out on way up

Squats are fantastic because they are big energy burners as you are using some of the largest muscle groups in the body. They are also a functional movement as we sit down and stand up all through the day. When done properly squats help to strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle, knee and hip joints and have the added bonus of working your core muscles (abdominals/back).

Enjoy the feeling of being strong and centered. Perform these 2-3 times per week doing
6-15 repetitions at a time. If you are a beginner do only 6 reps moving your way up to
12-15 as your weeks progress.

Have fun....and remember these can be done anywhere!!! Home, park, hotel, gym, office etc. Basically, wherever you are comfortable.

You can also learn how to do a squat in the Positively Slim "Overall Body Toning" video which is a part of the "Starter Package" available in the Positively Slim Shop. (press on title, How to do a squat, above!!!)

By Charlene Hutsebaut

Positively Slim
Follow us on Twitter, facebook & ecademy

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Athena Networking, London Westminster group


Good day to you all. As I was browsing through our Athena Networking site today I came across the wonderful photos of my visit to the Athena London Westminster group. Just wanted to share with you the link of myself and Jo King who runs a Burlesque business. (click on title above)

Remember that expanding your horizons and visiting another Athena group other than you own opens a whole world of possibilities for you and the members you are visiting. Try it, you will like it!


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Five a day: Can you cheat?

Check out our girl Charlotte speaking to Dan Lloyd at The Independent. Press on title above "Five a day: Can you cheat?" for the link. Enjoy.....

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Athena Talk

To my amazing Athena girls,

What a day yesterday. I fell into bed at 10pm totally blissfully exhausted after sharing my knowledge and passions on fitness and health with all of you! My sincerest hope is that with the tools you have now for your own tool boxes you can make a fresh start on a healthier lifestyle.
Here are some points to ponder in follow up:

-Be easy on yourself, changes take time, enjoy the journey and discovering new feelings, emotions etc
-Plan ahead on things like purchasing food, slotting in activities etc
-Start slowly with the movements. This will keep you injury free and give you a feeling of success!
-Again, slowly slowly......All or nothing does not work in fitness!
-Believe you can do things you have never tried.
-If you need help in certain areas, seek out a professional. There is so much support in the world, find it and use it!
-Start TODAY, not Monday!!!
-Health is "just a part of your life." Meaning: Once you find what you like to do with fitness/activity and your food, just let it happen. Sort of like how nike says, "Just do it!"
-Let go of the neurosis over food. Many women give themselves a hard time and feel alot of guilt. Imagine the freedom you are going to feel once you let this go. Very empowering and it IS in your power to do this.

Again, girls, enjoy the journey! Embrace every moment of your life as this is all we have.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Charlotte Watts, My Amazing Talented Business Partner

Today I am devoting my entry to my amazingly talented business partner, Charlotte Watts. She is passionate about both of her disciplines, Nutrition and Yoga. The following sums her up perfectly. I hope one day you will be able to benefit from her expertise.

"Charlotte works with clients to identify the underlying reasons for health concerns, looking at how the body functions as a whole allow her to make connections between what you eat, how you live, your family history and the factors that have influenced your health and weight. In her many years of seeing clients privately, she has had great success at seeing people lose weight naturally to become healthier, happier and feeling more in control of their lives. She is the author of' Lose Weight Now!' and 'Top 100 Recipes for Happy Kids' and also the Expert/ Co-Presenter on Series 3 of the hit BBC3 show 'Freaky Eaters'. Charlotte has been practising yoga for over ten years and studied at the Vajrasati School in Brighton ( which is certified to 500 hours Teacher Training by the Yoga Alliance. She works with clients in both nutrition and yoga for an all-round body and mind health programme. For more information on Charlotte see"

Monday, 15 June 2009

Diva Ski

Just saying a big thank you to Fiona and Annabel of Diva Ski for an excellent meeting last week to talk business! Lots of Gratitude to you both!!!

Carole Ann Rice, Find Your Dream Job

Hello all,

This entry is a bit behind but I wanted to add a note with a photo of the absolutely wonderful Carole Ann Rice!!! I was very priveleged to attend her book launch for "Find Your Dream Job" last Wednesday evening in London. Carole Ann and her writing partner Sarah Wade had many valuable and inspirational tidbits to share about their topic, writing a book and life in general. I was introduced to many amazing people who were all there to share in the excitment of the book launch and to support these two amazing women who have followed their dream with conviction and confidence.
Thank you to both Carole Ann and Sarah for inviting me to your big evening and I wish you both so much success and prosperity in all areas of your lives!!! Hope you love the photo, you both look healthy and happy.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Where I exercised in Praiano, Italy

Being Active on Holiday

How many times have I heard from clients, "Be active on holiday!? Are you serious!?" What they do not realize is that this is a perfect time to either maintain their current program or ease into a new one.
There are a few easy tips I can offer from my blue and white striped lounger on a cliff by the seaside on the Amalfi Coast, Italy. Firstly, choose a destination where you will naturally have to be active. Here in Praiano our rented apartment is 400 steps up a mountain! Your choice may be somewhere flatter but where you can still walk and sightsee in the natural course of a day. Secondly book an accomodation which has some form of activity centre, pool etc. Our clifftop residence does not have a pool but we do have access to the ocean for a daily swim. Some hotels and apartments have a gym, which may be more to your liking. I would suggest only spending twenty to thirty minutes a day there or every other day because after all you are on holiday. The third option is to take some tubing with handles. Every second morning I have used this for fifteen minutes, working through a routine which includes every major muscle group. Lunges, standing rows, squats, high rows, shoulder presses and push-ups. Quick, easy and so enjoyable when done outdoors on a beautiful terrace! My fourth suggestion is to practice any yoga or pilates moves you know already. Lastly, if in doubt go back to the first option....Walk, take in your surroundings and be in the moment!

Friday, 29 May 2009

First Entry

Well, it's time for me to start writing my first blog entry on my new blog. I have seen so many other wonderful and creative blogs over the past few months. One woman from my hometown wrote about how she is proud to be Canadian, another is writing about her escapades with food and yet another about her personal life and her children. I am going to write little bits about myself and Positively Slim. It seems a lovely combination to speak about one's self and their love for their chosen career.
I am one of those lucky people who loves what they do on a daily basis. Oh, of course I have a day or two when I get tired but that is because there are just so many exciting prospects in my business. Fitness, health, great nutrition and wellness are such an important part of every human being's life. I have gotten beyond the point of not understanding how so many of us can walk through life without taking care of our own body, psyche, emotions etc. I just get on with it and help people now as it seems a better way to use my energy. And you know what, it really works.
I am now keeping track of five lovely women who have found Positively Slim's online starter package. They are all going through similar ups and downs in the first month. As they say, "on the wagon, off the wagon, oh, back on the wagon, and off again!" I tell them to approach their food and movement in such a way that it just happens once they have done a small amount of planning. And if it happens that it doesn't happen on a particular day, they pick themselves up and do it again the next and the next and the next.
Fitness, health, great nutrition and wellness are choices. Some of us have blocks to feeling better but if they are discovered, embraced and realized feeling better in one's body can be a reality. Thankfully there are caring people like myself out there to guide people along. I just hope I can find all those who want the help.
More on my next entry about planning how to be active and where you can fit some activity into your schedule.
Take care today and be good to yourselves.

Fitness, health,